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The course of research into the economic consequences of German works councils

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  • Addison, John T.
  • Schnabel, Claus
  • Wagner, Joachim

Abstract

In a recent survey, Frege (2002) concludes that economic analysis of the works council has reached a `dead end´. The present treatment offers a different conclusion based on a more encompassing review of the evidence. It will identify three distinct phases in the economic analysis of codetermination at the workplace. While Frege just considered studies from the first two phases, it is the third phase of research that contains some of the most positive evaluations to date of works council impact. Even if such estimates appear much exaggerated and the effect of works councils is likely to be small on average, the new literature redirects our research effort towards the factors that produce swings around this average, including differences in works council types and their workplace environments. -- In einem jüngst veröffentlichten Überblicksartikel kommt Frege (2002) zu dem Schluss, die ökonomische Analyse des Betriebsrats sei in eine Sackgasse geraten. Die vorliegende Arbeit zieht ein anderes Fazit, das auf einer umfassenderen Betrachtung der empirischen Evidenz beruht. Dabei werden drei Phasen der ökonomischen Analyse der betrieblichen Mitbestimmung unterschieden. Während Frege nur Studien aus den ersten beiden Phasen berücksichtigte, ist es gerade die dritte Forschungsphase, die einige der positivsten Bewertungen von Betriebsräten enthält. Selbst wenn derartige Einschätzungen stark übertrieben erscheinen und der Betriebsratseffekt im Durchschnitt relativ gering sein dürfte, weist die neuere Literatur darauf hin, dass unsere Forschungsbemühungen sich stärker auf Faktoren konzentrieren sollten, die Schwankungen um diesen Durchschnitt hervorrufen (wie z.B. unterschiedliche Typen von Betriebsräten und deren Arbeitsplatzumgebung).

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 22.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:faulre:22

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Web page: http://www.arbeitsmarkt.wiso.uni-erlangen.de/english-version/
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Keywords: Works council; codetermination; Germany;

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References

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  1. Sandra E. Black & Lisa M. Lynch, 2001. "How To Compete: The Impact Of Workplace Practices And Information Technology On Productivity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(3), pages 434-445, August.
  2. Richard B. Freeman & Edward P. Lazear, 1995. "An Economic Analysis of Works Councils," NBER Chapters, in: Works Councils: Consultation, Representation, and Cooperation in Industrial Relations, pages 27-52 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Olaf H¸bler & Uwe Jirjahn, 2003. "Works Councils and Collective Bargaining in Germany: The Impact on Productivity and Wages," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 50(4), pages 471-491, 09.
  4. Thorsten Schank & Claus Schnabel & Joachim Wagner, 2004. "Works councils - sand or grease in the operation of German firms?," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(3), pages 159-161.
  5. Addison, John T & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2001. "Work Councils in Germany: Their Effects on Establishment Performance," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(4), pages 659-94, October.
  6. Addison, John T. & Bellmann, Lutz & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2002. "The Long Awaited Reform of the German Works Constitution Act," IZA Discussion Papers 422, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. John T. Addison & Thorsten Schank & Claus Schnabel & Joachim Wagner, 2006. "Works Councils in the Production Process," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 126(2), pages 251-283.
  8. Addison, John T. & Schank, Thorsten & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2003. "German Works Councils in the Production Process," IZA Discussion Papers 812, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Alex Bryson, 2004. "Unions and Workplace Closure in Britain, 1990-1998," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 42(2), pages 282-302, 06.
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  11. Carola M. Frege, 2002. "A Critical Assessment of the Theoretical and Empirical Research on German Works Councils," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 40(2), pages 221-248, 06.
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  16. Fitzroy, Felix R & Kraft, Kornelius, 1987. "Efficiency and Internal Organization: Works Councils in West German Firms," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 54(216), pages 493-504, November.
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  18. John T. Addison & Paulino Teixeira & Thomas Zwick, 2006. "The Impact of Works Councils on Wages," GEMF Working Papers 2006-08, GEMF - Faculdade de Economia, Universidade de Coimbra.
  19. Zwick, Thomas, 2003. "Works Councils and the Productivity Impact of Direct Employee Participation," ZEW Discussion Papers, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research 03-47, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  20. Brown, Charles & Medoff, James, 1978. "Trade Unions in the Production Process," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(3), pages 355-78, June.
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